TikTok has been fined €345 million ($368 million) by a major European internet authority for failing to do enough to protect youngsters.
The Irish Data Protection Commission, which regulates TikTok’s operations in the European Union, announced on Friday that the business had broken the bloc’s signature privacy law.
According to a DPC investigation, TikTok’s default settings did not adequately protect children’s accounts in the second half of 2020. According to the report, freshly formed children’s profiles were set to public by default, allowing anyone with access to the internet to read them.
TikTok failed to adequately communicate these privacy dangers to children and also utilized so-called “dark patterns” to steer users toward disclosing more of their personal information, according to the regulator.
Another infringement of EU privacy law, according to the DPC, was a TikTok function known as Family Pairing that did not require an adult monitoring a child’s account to be validated as the child’s actual parent or guardian. According to the authority, the failure meant that any adult might possibly impair a child’s privacy precautions.
In April 2020, TikTok released Family Pairing, which allows parents to link their accounts with child accounts to monitor screen time, prevent inappropriate content, and limit direct chat to youngsters. Additionally, you can also read about- How to Go Live on TikTok in 2023: 50 Amazing Tips Explained
The ruling of the DPC gives the corporation three months to correct its errors and includes a written reprimand.
However, in a blog post published on Friday, the corporation stated that it “respectfully” disagreed with key portions of the judgement.
“Most of the decision’s criticisms are no longer relevant as a result of measures we introduced at the start of 2021,” stated Elaine Fox, TikTok’s European privacy chief.
TikTok made modifications in early 2021, including making current and new accounts private by default for users aged 13 to 15, according to Fox. Later this month, “we will begin rolling out a redesigned account registration flow for new 16- and 17-year-old users” that will default to private settings.
TikTok did not specify whether Family Pairing would now verify an adult’s relationship to a child. However, the company stated that the feature has been improved over time with more options and features. It went on to say that none of the regulator’s findings indicated that TikTok’s age verification processes violated EU privacy rules.
TikTok was also punished in the United Kingdom in April for a number of data protection violations, including exploiting children’s personal data.